Mesut Ozil drama!!!
China’s state broadcaster CCTV has removed Sunday’s Arsenal-Manchester City game from its schedule after comments made by Gunners midfielder Mesut Ozil.
Ozil recently posted on social media about the treatment of Uighur Muslims in China.
Arsenal distanced the club from Ozil’s views, saying it was “always apolitical as an organisation”.
The Global Times described Ozil’s comments as “false” and claimed he had “disappointed” football authorities.
In addition, the Chinese Football Association said Ozil’s comments were “unacceptable” and had “hurt the feelings” of Chinese fans.
As a result, CCTV will now show Sunday’s game between Tottenham and Wolves, instead of a live broadcast of Arsenal’s home game against the reigning Premier League champions, Manchester City.
Mesut Ozil, who is a Muslim, called Uighurs “warriors who resist persecution” and criticised both China and the silence of Muslims in response.
China has consistently denied mistreating Uighur Muslims in the country.
Rights groups say about a million people – mostly from the Muslim Uighur community – are thought to have been detained without trial in high-security prison camps.
China says they are being educated in “vocational training centres” to combat violent religious extremism.
In October, the US National Basketball Association suffered financial losses after an online comment from a team executive prompted a crisis in its relations with China.
Houston Rockets’ manager Daryl Morey had tweeted support for pro-democracy protesters in Hong Kong.
As a result, Chinese firms suspended sponsorship and telecast deals.
Robin Brant, a BBC correspondent in Beijing had some things to say:
“…So important is football to the UK and its soft power that very senior British diplomats have pondered the impact on UK China relations of something like this.
“The reaction to Mesut Ozil’s comments appears more muted compared to Daryl Morey’s Hong Kong support.
“China’s state machinery went after the NBA, not just the man and club. On this occasion it’s targeting Ozil and to a limited extent Arsenal.
“Any lasting damage here is likely to be sustained by him personally. Although there will also be some praise and support. You just won’t hear about that in China’s state-run media.”